Threatening message sent to Tower Hamlets Cllr Rabina Khan

6:32 PM October 29, 2021

Threatening messages on WhatsApp aiming to “take down” a Tower Hamlets councillor have been reported as a hate crime.  

Messages levelled against Rabina Khan in a group chat followed a debate in Parliament on the impending return of disgraced ex-mayor Lutfur Rahman and a week after the killing of Essex MP Sir David Amess in Southend. 

“I refuse to suffer in silence anymore,” Cllr Khan told the East London Advertiser. “Someone seems to think it’s okay to threaten me a week after Sir David’s killing — it is not!” 

Cllr Khan, who represents Shadwell at the town hall, has decided to “call out those responsible” after being subjected to “online verbal abuse for years”.  

The WhatsApp message said: “This is desperate measures (sic) from Rabina and her ‘lying together’ team. Hopefully she would be taken down in Shadwell.” 

It was posted following a Lords debate in which Lord Hayward accused Lutfur Rahman of attending an event where he discussed Tower Hamlets Carers Association “collecting” votes from elderly people.

John Biggs and Rabina Khan running neck and neck in 2015 election for mayor

John Biggs and Rabina Khan running neck and neck in 2015 election for mayor

– Credit: Mike Brooke

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The WhatsApp message also attacks Labour mayor John Biggs, who took over from Mr Rahman’s administration and is standing again next May.

“Kick them out,” it says. “Please get rid of them and don’t vote for them. We are not stupid.”

Rabina Khan... nominated by Rahman seen with her in in 2015 before party split

Rabina Khan… nominated by Mr Rahman seen with her in 2015 before party split

– Credit: Mike Brooke

Cllr Khan was Mr Rahman’s party’s candidate for mayor in 2015 after he was barred from office in the High Court for five years for corrupt malpractice at the polls the year before.

Mr Rahman plans to run against Labour at the next election, the Lords was told. 

Cllr Khan said: “I don’t know why this person associates me with Lord Hayward’s comments. They have to learn to criticise without making threats.”  

Rabina Khan... rallying her People's Alliance after split from Rahman

Rabina Khan… rallying her People’s Alliance after split from Mr Rahman

– Credit: Mike Brooke

She cut her links with Mr Rahman in 2016 and set up her own People’s Alliance party. After it was heavily defeated in the 2018 Tower Hamlets Council elections, she joined the Lib Dems.

Mark Baynes, the blogger in Wapping who alerted Lord Hayward to Mr Rahman’s return, insisted it wasn’t linked to Cllr Khan. He added: “The (WhatsApp) message says ‘hopefully she would be taken down in Shadwell’.

“Everyone knows what is meant by ‘taken down’. The threat of violence is clear.”

Cllr Khan has told the Advertiser she had “nothing to do with the Lords’ debate” about Mr Rahman’s comeback.

The Met Police has not responded to a request for comment on the messages reported by Cllr Khan.

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